• Coach K’s achievement is model of adaptability, flexibility and excellence

    Posted: January 25th, 2015

    Mike Krzyzewski will accumulate 1,000 career victories in a matter of days, perhaps as early as Sunday.

    It’s an astounding accomplishment — one that comes along with 40 years as a Division I head coach — and it’s impressive even to peers that have piled up hundreds and hundreds of wins themselves.

    So, what’s the secret to longevity in this profession? How can coaches stick around long enough (and win enough) to get to this point? USA TODAY Sports posed these questions to some of the sport’s most successful coaches.

    “You can be flippant and half in jest, and say, ‘Great bosses and great players.’ And there are great bosses and very good players,” said North Carolina coach Roy Williams, who has 739 career victories. “There is some truth to that, but that belittles the accomplishment to me, and I don’t want to do that. What it is, is a tremendous ability to get people to focus on a common goal, and every three, four, five or 10 years, that group of people changes drastically because the culture changes. Your job is to again get 18-, 19-, 20-, 21-year-olds to focus and make sacrifices toward a common goal that is a team-oriented goal.

    Source: USA Today
    Source: USA Today

    “When you do it over such a long period of time, you have to change quite a bit. You don’t have to change your core beliefs, but you have to change with the times. … To me, longevity means that person, like Mike Krzyzewski for example, has been able to withstand so many changes in his entire world.”

    Williams described the current culture surrounding the game as one of entitlement and high expectations. He said when he first began coaching, kids were “thrilled to get a scholarship offer; now, kids just treat it as the old Western guys, another notch on their gun.” Williams said he’s had recruits appear grateful for a scholarship offer, only to turn around the next day and commit somewhere else.

    Managing that environment, along with egos of players who all seem to think they’re one-and-done, is what’s required for coaches to survive and thrive in the game’s current climate. To Williams, the key to longevity is adaptability.

    Along with that comes flexibility.

    “Old guys like us, we never change,” said Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, who’s at 962 career wins. “The thing that’s never changed is (Krzyzewski) is very flexible.”

    Read full article on USAToday.com


You can possess countless good qualities as an individual, but if you don”t have the courage to proceed, you may never see those qualities come into fruition. It takes courage to put what you believe to be best of you on the line, to test it, and to see how far it takes you. Courage means daring to do what you imagine.

- Coach K

You have to adapt what you do based on who you are. In teaching, you must remember that no group or individual is the same as who you taught the day before, the year before, or the decade before. Your plan has to suit who you and your team are right now.

- Coach K

When you are winning, your commitment is never challenged. But loyalty and dedication during difficult times can be tough. When commitment doesn’t waver, that’s when you have the greatest chance of winning. You can never give up.

- Coach K

When you care about someone or something, you show genuine concern for that person or thing, in good times or bad. When you care about one another and about your purpose, you are compelled to put your feelings into action. Care creates an atmosphere that breeds success and gives you the confidence to try again.

- Coach K

Belief can mean the difference between a fear of failure and the courage to try. On a team or in a family, belief makes each individual stronger and also fortifies the group as a whole. The basis of belief is in individual relationships.

- Coach K

No matter how successful you believe yourself to be, you can never feel as if you’ve reached the absolute pinnacle. There are always new and wonderful challenges out there, and part of maintaining success is knowing when you need to accept them.

- Coach K

Effective teamwork begins and ends with communication. Communication does not always occur naturally, and must be taught and practiced in order to bring everyone together as one. The most crucial element of communicating is telling the truth.

- Coach K

Take care not to allow one aspect of your life to so consume you that you neglect the others. Balance can put things in perspective, can bring you joy even when you are down, and can allow you to be at your best in all aspects of your life.

- Coach K
Collective Responsibility

We win and we lose together. Handling the responsibility for wins and losses together removes the burden from one individual’s shoulders and distributes it among each member of the team. That atmosphere is conducive to high-level performance and places you and your team in the position to be bold and unafraid, and if you should lose, you are not alone.

- Coach K

Adversity can teach you more about yourself than any success, and overcoming an obstacle can sometimes feel even better than achieving an easy victory. Through adversity, you can discover things about your endurance, your ability to turn a negative into a positive, and your personal strength of heart.

- Coach K
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